REPRESENTATIVES of civil society organisations (CSOs) and human rights defenders are confident that the first female President, Ms Samia Suluhu Hassan, will be a catalyst for progress and meeting the National Development Vision 2025.
“We are hopeful that due to her performance in various capacities, she will use her vast experience in collaboration with other leaders under her to ensure our nation progresses well economically, politically and socially,” reads part of their joint statement.
They expressed this confidence on the occasion of offering condolences and congratulatory messages after the death of former President John Magufuli and the assuming of office of Ms Samia Sululu Hassan.
In their joint message signed by representatives from 207 CSOs recently, they said they were appealing to President Samia Sululu Hassan to have an audience with them as stakeholders of civil societies to learn her vision and her best way to sustain existing cooperation between the government and CSOs.
The confidence was also elaborated on the basis that Madam President had rich experience in CSOs for she had participated well in various symposiums organised by CSOs for discussing and improving specific rights of special groups like those of women and children’s rights.
They said the various positions she had held and even in her capacity as the Vice- President, she had been participating in different meetings involving women and other marginalised groups in society. On this, the CSOs vehemently explained that they were committed to continuing working closely with the government to have a meaningful contribution to the success of President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
They explained that the country’s economic growth catalysed by CSOs as surveyed by 16 CSOs showed they had contributed about 236bn/- in three years (2016- 2018) by injecting it into various development projects in the country. However, as stakeholders they said they looked to the President and the government to improve the environment in which CSOs and human rights activists were operating to increase efficiency in service delivery.
This includes observing laws, rules and regulations so that they could keep improving access to basic social services such as health, education, housing and water.
“We advise the President and the government to improve public-private partnership in accordance with existing laws and regulations. We also advise the government to repeal or amend various outdated laws as it is the best way to strengthen good governance,” reads part of the statement.
As the country recovers from mourning the loss of Dr Magufuli, CSO stakeholders are mindful of his relentless efforts to bring about development, fight against corruption and restore discipline in public service.
“We remember since 1995 when he was first elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) and subsequently appointed as Deputy Minister and then as Minister in different ministries and thereafter as President, Dr Magufuli played an active role in the fight against corruption and in bringing about accountability in the public sector. Furthermore, he tried hard to eradicate poverty and improve infrastructure.
We acknowledge the fact that before the 2015 general election, CSOs and human rights activists were aggrieved by a number of problems, such as lack of due diligence in the public sector, diminishing rule of law, growing poverty in society and challenges in various sectors of the economy - all of which prompted demand for a new Constitution, protection of human rights and pressure groups that help the government to be more accountable to the people. Dr Magufuli tried his best to address some of those challenges and some of them are still being worked on,” they said.
They recognise the efforts of improving infrastructure, including energy infrastructure such as the construction of Rufiji Hydropower facility, roads, railways, airports and ports. These efforts have greatly reduced the cost of doing business and have sped up the implementation of development projects and widening the scope of doing business in the country.
Not only that, the youth and women in many parts of the country engage in various projects, thanks to Dr Magufuli’s initiative to protect them so that they can do business without being disturbed like in the past, where their goods were being confiscated and destroyed and they were subjected to fines and imprisonment for defying village, town or city rules and regulations.
Dr Magufuli introduced small-scale trader’s identity cards and petty traders were only required to pay 20,000/- every year and do business wherever they wanted, provided they didn’t violate the law. This step has enabled most of them to formalise their businesses and increase their security compared to the situation before where they were subjected to humiliation since they were not legally recognised.
The revival of the national carrier Air Tanzania Corporation (ATCL) and purchasing modern aircraft with cash money is another milestone the CSOs recalled. According to them, there is potential for Tanzanians to engage in business activities both in and outside the country and create a better environment for the tourism sector, which is a key contributor to the national economy.
Among other things, the government sealed loopholes of theft and depletion of natural resources, including precious minerals. This step has helped to increase the country’s GDP. For instance, in the first five months of 2018/19 (July-November), domestic revenue, including revenue from district councils, reached a whopping 7.37tri/-, about 88.9 per cent of the targeted 8.30tri/- during the period.
Because of ongoing steps, government revenue has from year to year continued increasing significantly. With this, the CSOs and human rights activists are also in the frontline of advocating for gender equality in various leadership positions at different organisations.
They thus promise to strongly advise political parties to put in place social arrangements to identify and get a representative in Parliament who will be responsible for CSOs (including nongovernmental organisations (NGOs). They, therefore, promise that they will cooperate with the government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan to introduce creative and effective projects in society to benefit all.
Those projects will have a bearing on special groups such as the youth, people with disabilities, women, children and the elderly. They will also help maintain peace and fraternity in accordance with the Constitution and other laws of the land.
“We will work with the government to provide social services in different parts of the country and in various areas and fight against poverty, advise how to provide employment to thousands of young people in Tanzania, conduct our business transparently and professionally and be good taxpayers